Chief Justice Roxane George in a two-part decision today on the appointment by the President of the Integrity Commission and the Chairman of the Police Service Commission ruled that the appointments were constitutional since the consultative process had been completed in keeping with the Constitution.
However, with regards to the Police Service Commission, the Chief Justice ruled that the body was not duly constituted as a result of the absence of the Chairman of the Public Service Commission as required by the Constitution.
The Opposition Leader had challenged the appointment of Patrick Findlay as Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), as well as the members of the Integrity Commission on the basis that the President did not “meaningfully consult” with him as required by the Constitution.
But the Chief Justice, in handing down the ruling this afternoon concluded that the consultative process as contemplated by the Constitution was complied.
She said the Opposition Leader’s contention that he was not provided sufficient information on the nominees is without merit.
It was pointed out that the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Gail Teixeira in one of her correspondences to the Opposition Leader on May 12, 2022 indicated that the nominees were “people of good standing.”
In the case of the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, the Chief Justice pointed out that he was among four persons nominated by the Appointments Committee of the National Assembly.
The Chief Justice ruled too that the Opposition Leader could have offered his contributions to the consultative process, even in the absence of an in-person meeting, and had sufficient information to object to Findlay being appointed as Chairman of the Commission but failed to do so.
As a result, she refused to grant the orders and declarations with regards to Findlay and the other appointed members of the Police and Service Commissions.
However, she ruled that the Police Service Commission was not properly constituted.
“It is hereby declared that in the absence of the appointment of the Chairman of the Public Service Commission to the Police Service Commission, the term of the previous Police Service Commission having expired, the said Police Service Commission is currently not lawfully and duly constituted in accordance with the Constitution,” Chief Justice George declared.
She said as a consequence, as of June 29, 2022, Mr. Findlay could not have lawfully consulted with the other members of the Police Service Commission on the appointment of an acting Commissioner of Police, Clifton Hicken in the absence of the appointment of the Chairman of the Public Service Commission to the Police Commission pursuant to Article 210 (1)B of the Constitution of Guyana.
“As a consequence, it is hereby declared that any consultation between the President and the second respondent [Mr. Findlay] as of June 29, 2022 on the subject of the appointment of an acting Commissioner of Police of Guyana is null void and of no legal effect,” the Chief Justice declared.
Further, she said the invitation to the Opposition Leader to engage in meaningful consultation in relation to the appointment of Mr. Hicken as acting Commissioner of Police cannot proceed until the Chairman of the Police Service Commission can properly consult with all members of his Commission as required by the Constitution.
She said in order for the Police Service Commission to exercise, any of the powers, functions and or duties conferred on it by the Constitution of Guyana, the Chairman of the Public Service Commission must be appointed to the Police Commission.
However, enforcing the de facto doctrine, the Chief Justice validated any action taken by the Commission since its appointment by President Ali.